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Vancouver Canucks vs Phoenix Coyotes Preview: Another Day, Another Division Rival

Tonight the Phoenix Coyotes face off against their newest division rival the Vancouver Canucks for the first time this season at Arena.

Rich Lam

Phoenix Coyotes

The Coyotes managed to come out of San Jose with two points, despite the fact that they let the Sharks put 50 shots on their net. They did a lot of good things during that game though, they scored first, they had a solid penalty kill unit, and they played a solid overtime period.  It wasn't a perfect game by any means, but any win against a division rival should be celebrated.

This season, the Coyotes have been solid on home ice, with a 6-0-1 record. They have let to lose a game in regulation in Glendale.  The Yotes have also managed to score at least three goals in every home game this season and have outscored their opponents 31-20 on home ice.  With numbers like that, the Coyotes need to play the same way they have all season at home if they want to take care of business tonight.

Vancouver Canucks

Although the Canucks' roster hasn't changed much, besides their goaltending situation, they are a very different team this year.  Vancouver and New York decided to swap coaches bringing John Tortorella to the Western Conference. So far, the change has been mostly positive.  The team is faring better in the new Pacific than the other twp additions, and they are very much in the hunt for the division lead.

Vancouver will enter this game coming off a 4-0 victory against a surprisingly competitive Toronto Maple Leafs team.  That game featured 11 players tallying a point and Roberto Luongo stopping all 21 shots that the Leafs could muster for the shut out victory.  The low shot total could be the team accepting Tort's shot blocking mindset, or the fact that Toronto has been out shot for most of this season, but it is likely a combination of the two.

The Canucks have a 6-2-1 away record but they have only outscored their opponents 27-25 on the road.  Their wins on the road tend to be tight, with Vancouver only winning one road game by more than a goal.

Team Rankings

Team Ranking

Phoenix Coyotes

Vancouver Canucks

Goals For

4th (3.27)

14th (2.81)

Goals Against

25th (3.00)

12th (2.50)

PP %

13th (19.6)

28th (9.6)

PK %

16th (81.4)

3rd (87.3)

Keys to the Game

Limit Vancouver's shots. When the Coyotes played the Sharks, they let them record 50 shots on goal, which required Mike Smith make a lot of difficult saves to keep them in the game.  Against the Canucks, they need to limit their opponents shots to make things easier for their goaltender and for themselves.

Keep it in regulation. The Pacific Division is perhaps the most competitive division this year in the NHL with the top four teams separated by only four points.  Since Vancouver is only one point behind the Coyotes, the Yotes need to do what they can to not give them anything that would help them move up the standings.

Special teams. The Coyotes penalty kill was very good in their last outing, allowing only one goal on five penalties including a  double minor late in the first.  Unfortunately the power play unit wasn't able to generate everything, going 0 for 4, although they had a few good looks by the end of the game.  The Coyotes need to maintain a solid PK while improving their PP to really make their opponents pay.

Who's Hot?

Antoine Vermette

#50 / Center / Phoenix Coyotes



Jul 20, 1982

G A P +/- PIM
2013 - Antoine Vermette 5 4 9 9 12

Antoine Vermette is starting to heat up with goals in the past two games and the shootout winner against the San Jose Sharks.  Before he scored the game tying goal against the Nashville Predators, he had been held scoreless for four games, hopefully the last two games are a sign that the streak is going the other way.

Henrik Sedin

Vancouver Canucks

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It should be no surprise who is leading the Vancouver offense.  Henrik Sedin has 19 points, good enough for most on the Canucks and 3rd in the NHL, and he has a point in every game except one.

Likely Starting Goaltenders

Mike Smith

#41 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes



Mar 22, 1982

2013 - Mike Smith 13 731 8 2 35 2.87 423 388 .917 0

Mike Smith played incredibly well against the San Jose Sharks, stopping 48 of 50 shots, in a game may have been his best so far of the season.  Hopefully he can continue that level of play tonight against the Canucks.

Roberto Luongo

#1 / Goalie / Vancouver Canucks



Apr 04, 1979

2013 - Roberto Luongo 13 791 8 4 30 2.28 351 321 .915 2

While it may be a little surprising that Roberto Luongo is still playing for the Vancouver Canucks this season, his 8-4-1 record with two shutouts isn't very surprising.  In a lot of ways Luongo is like Smith this season, both have eight wins, both have started 13 games, Luongo has a .915 save percentage while Smith has a .917.  Expect this game to feature solid goaltending.

Injury Report

Rostislav Klesa may return to the lineup tonight but Jeff Halpern and David Schlemko are still likely to be sitting out.

For Vancouver, David Booth is out with a lower body injury and Jordan Schroeder, Jannik Hansen and Dale Weise are all currently listed as injured reserve.

Puck Drop

Tonight's game will be at 7PM at Arena, and will be a Student Rush game allowing you to get tickets for $25 at the door with a Student ID.  It will be on the radio at KMVP 860 AM and on 3TV.